Reporters in Coahuila are demanding a government investigation into an incident in which a police chief in the state’s coal region fired his weapon into the air to prevent reporters from approaching a body that had been discovered on the side of a highway.
Cristina Flores, a journalist with the newspaper Factor Coahuila, said she was one of a dozen reporters and photographers who responded to reports of a body found Wednesday on the side of Highway 57 near the municipality of Sabinas.
However, when they arrived at the scene, they found it roped off. As if to reinforce the barrier against entering the crime scene, Police Chief Rolando Noé Fernández Martínez repeatedly fired a rifle into the air.
One reporter attempted to fly a drone to capture photos of the body but was asked to leave by an officer from the state Attorney General’s Office.
When questioned about his actions, the chief merely laughed.
A collective of four organizations representing journalists in the state denounced the incident in a public letter to Governor Miguel Ángel Riquelme Solís, public security chief José Luis Pliego and state Attorney General Gerardo Márquez Guevara.
The collective demanded an investigation into the police chief’s actions along with appropriate legal action. The letter said the collective is not willing to let the police chief’s threat go unpunished.
“The aggression was captured on camera by the reporters carrying out their duties, which means that there exists proof in photos and video of the public servant’s inappropriate actions.”
The organizations’ letter also asked state authorities to “send a clear message so that public servants respect freedom of speech and journalistic work, especially to those in charge of ensuring public security.”